Sunday, 18 November 2012

Bloggering Without Comments

I see Donna Yates ( Goodbye commenting! November 17, 2012 ), pestered by spambotters, has decided to disable comments on her blog. She also says that very few of her readers have been responding with comments anyway. It is very similar over here. I do not at the moment intend disabling comments, it's nice to hear from those who say they enjoyed reading something I'd tapped out on my keyboard, or agree with me. Even more welcome, most of the time, are those who say they do not agree with what I said. The whole point of putting this stuff up is to see how well it stands up in the face of alternative views. I think it's valuable when the confrontation of ideas takes place within the pages here, rather than between my pages and somebody else's the other end of the internet. Ms Yates suggests:
Disabling comments does not mean I do not want to hear from you. I really do! [...] This just means you have to email me with comments, corrections, and ideas. 
But that of course means that the exchange is private and not public. Surely the whole point of the blogging and disseminating information, thoughts and opinions of "antiquities matters" is that a public debate is very much needed, and we should be doing everything possible to promote it. It is very much in the interests of the Black Hat Guys that there should be no debate, that is what they crave. Comments stay open and congruent and conflicting views from real people are still welcome here.


David Ian said...

Hello Paul:
This post gives me a chance to express the following which I have intended for a long time but have done nothing about it, for reasons I can explain to you in a private message. Anyway… The problem with "bloggering" from my point of view in general is that it is all too easy to type up words in the seemingly "safe" privacy of one's space that the blogger throws out to the open internet without any consideration of possible consequence. While one might say it encourages free expression, I often find it no more than noise like that of loud traffic in the middle of Manhattan, or Rome. This is especially true when the personality and emotions of the bloggers start to take over and overshadow the topic of stated purpose of the blog itself, resulting in nasty vitriol like that you see in political campaigns. The blogs become a battleground for people who don't agree with one another. In the end, it turns people off who are not looking to watch a fight (reality TV is better for that.) The problem with comments is that the bloggers become way to dependent on the readers' (are they even real people? Aliases? Am I real? Who am I?) responses, which is a meaningless pursuit. If the goal is to disseminate information blogging is not the way to go. If you want a public debate, doing it on any blog is an illusion. As a personal forum to vent, yes (because then one shouldn't care for response), and that's why I salute Donna Yates's decision. I believe others should follow her model. This is by no means a slight on your attempts, because I believe your blog has contained much valuable content. Alas, a blog is just a blog.
David Ian

Paul Barford said...

Thanks for those comments.

I'm not sure anybody blogging on antiquities is at all "dependent" on readers' responses, I think they are of potential interest in that they reduce the degree to which a blog is a monologue.

I know this blog is read by those who largely agree with me as well as those who largely disagree. I see no real reason why the latter cannot summon up the courage to do so to my face.

Anyway, if someone has the urge to say something, the comments are available, though I really am not "dependent" on anyone writing, there are enough issues to deal with to keep me busy as it is.


David Ian said...

To clarify, what I said about "dependent on responses" refers to allowing comments, not blogging itself. This kind of exchange alone does not contribute to meaningful debate nor does it help disseminate information because it gets lost in the back-and-forth. Moreover, one doesn't really know who's behind the words as you pointed out yourself so many times. BTW, I see nothing wrong with monologues. Before blogs and social media, aren't books, etc all some form of monologue? I believe people would be much more interested in what YOU have to say (that's why they visit your blog) which would be much clearer without these comments from who knows who. Finally, I do see plenty of "those who largely disagree" "summon up the courage to do so" in your face: your blog, albeit primarily from one single source. But how can you take them seriously and why do you? By that same token, why should you take my 2 cents seriously? Feel free to "reject".

Thutmose said...

I appreciate the opportunity to comment on posts and even to perhaps add some information if possible. However, I understand restricting comments though as too often on the internet, responses are so harsh and aggressive that they would deserve a punch in the nose if they were said face-to-face. I'm glad you are keeping your comments open.

Paul Barford said...

I think it would be unwise to have any blog on a topic like this (actually probably any topic) in which you do not moderate the stuff coming in. So the "deserve a punch on the nose" type of comment can be (and are) rejected - in the sidebar I set out what "rules" I'd like potential commentators to consider.

I too see (Ian) nothing wrong with monologues. that is precisely what this blog is of course, my take on antiquities issues.

It did however start off as a replacement for my activity on forums, I'd write on this stuff on archaeology forums, which was not always appreciated by fellow artefact-hunter-loving archaeologists and metal detectorists who wanted me to shut up. In order to cut down the agro which resulted, I decided to take my stuff off to my own little corner of the internet.

That does not mean however that I am against the idea of all sides of these issues having a proper discussion, either face-to-face or via the possibilities offered by the Internet. I am willing, what about the naysayers?

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